MEMORIAL SET FOR OFFICERS KILLED IN CRASH

September 08, 2001 12:00 am

SALEM (AP) Hundreds of police officers from as far away as Washington, D.C., are expected at a memorial service today for State Police Trooper Maria Mignano, one of two police officers killed in a roadside crash.

Mignano, 39, was the first female Oregon state police officer to die while on duty. Jason Hoerauf, a 29-year-old off-duty Albany policeman who had been riding with a third officer, also died in the Tuesday crash.

Mignano, Hoerauf and State Police Sgt. John Burright had stopped to help a motorist on the shoulder of Interstate 5 south of Salem when they were struck by a pickup driven by 19-year-old Jacob Todoriko.

Todorikos lawyer said he had fallen asleep at the wheel.

Burright suffered multiple injuries and remained in critical condition Friday at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland.

We wish to express our gratitude to the many people who have given us support while we watch, wait and pray for Johns recovery, Burrights family said Friday in a written statement. The support has been amazing and has helped us get through these first few days following the accident.

Services for Hoerauf, 29, are set for 1 p.m. Monday at First Assembly of God in Albany.

Gov. John Kitzhaber and State Police Superintendent Ron Ruecker will be among speakers at Mignanos services at the Salem Armory, said State Police spokesman Lt. Greg Hastings.

State police agencies from as far away as Minnesota and Tennessee have said they plan to have officers at the services, as well as an honor guard from the Washington, D.C., police department, Hastings said.

Private burial services for Mignano will follow at a Salem cemetery, he said.

Todoriko, a student at Oregon State University, suffered minor injuries and has not has been charged in the case.

The Marion County district attorneys office says complete reports are not expected for at least three weeks.

The site of the freeway crash has become something of a memorial, with well-wishers stopping there to leave flowers.

Worried that people who stop could cause another crash, state police on Friday asked that they take their offerings to the Law Enforcement Memorial Wall at the state police training academy in Monmouth.

Mignano had a zest for her work and for life in general, her relatives say.

From studying flamenco dancing in Spain to patrolling the highways, she had the capacity to see the humor and humaneness in every aspect of what she did, said a sister, Linda Mignano.

Maria had turned down a promotion that would have taken her off patrol duties, said Mitch Mignano, a cousin and former policeman in Texas.

Maria was raised in the Los Angeles area and joined the state police eight years ago. A petite 5-feet-4, she also lifted weights and studied martial arts.

As small as Mignano was, she proved herself, said Erin Reyes, a former patrol partner based in the Salem office.

Theresa Heyn, a twin sister, said Maria prepared her for the possibility she could die on duty.

She knew the risks associated with her job, but she had no fear, Heyn said.

Hoerauf was at the scene because he had arranged to ride along with Burright, a longtime mentor.

He always thought he had more to learn, said girlfriend Bethany Gray, mother of the couples 2-month-old daughter.

Hoerauf will be buried in public services at Odd Fellows Cemetery near Lebanon.

AP-WS-09-08-01 0112EDT